Governor Doyle's plan to increase the tax on cigarettes is drawing concerns from Republican leaders. Assembly Speaker Mike Huebsch (R-West Salem) says the idea is contradictory in that relies on raising the tax on cigarettes to collect more money, while also trying to get more people to quit smoking. He says it just doesn't make sense.
Meanwhile, Senate Minority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) says the Governor's proposed increase leaves him with some real concerns about the upcoming budget. Fitzgerald says it may leave the proposed $1.25 increase could be part of a larger "shell game" when it comes to revenue streams. The Juneau Republican says there's also a real concern that the tobacco money could be shifted to other funds.
Speaker Huebsch says the state needs to be looking for ways to save money, rather than considering a tax hike. He says the state needs to figure out how it can spend less, while still providing the services residents need. Both lawmakers believe the plan will have a hard time passing through the legislature.